Tuesday, April 26, 2011



During my senior year in high school, the graduating class went skiing and eventually after a long day of tumbling down the slopes, we headed straight for the pool. I loved my leopard print bathing suit that I knew no one else would be wearing because I had ordered it from a Brazilian catalog–one of very few that was not a thong. While I was certain to be a banging babe in it, there was the matter of my feet. I couldn’t let the entire senior class– including all the cuties–see how busted my bunion-laden feet were.

My friend-roommates all headed to the pool while I lagged behind. “Go ahead, I’ll meet you there in a minute,” I said, trying to stall and figure out how to get in the water without anyone noticing my feet. Putting on my white scrunchy socks and pair of high top Reeboks, I left the hotel room armed with a camera and a white over-sized Ralph “Polo” Lauren teddy bear towel.

Once poolside, I goofed around, taking pictures and sipped on sodas for a long while. Eventually, my friends beckoned me to jump in.

“I can’t swim,” I offered up in a meek protest.

“The pool is all of five feet. You’re almost a foot taller. Quit playing.”
“You know I can’t mess up my hair. I just got it permed and the chlorine water….shoo. I don’t even want to think of the damage that will cause,” I said, even though I was wearing a swim cap. “Water can still seep in.”

“Really? You’re going to sit sideline? That’s whack.”

Another senior jumped out of the water and threatened to push me in if I didn’t comply. Damn friends, I thought. Slowly, I dropped all my stuff and painstakingly took off my sneakers at the pool’s edge. Thankfully, I was hit with an epiphany and jumped in with a big splash– with the white scrunchy socks on.

“Why are you wearing socks in the pool?” someone asked.

Heads turned in my directions and some even chuckled.

“I don’t know what kind of germs are on the pool floor. It could be all kinds of foot fungus so I’ll just pass up on that,” I said.

“Lemme find out your feet are busted,” someone yelled.

“Take it off, take it off, take it off,” a small group chanted. And I did. Then my hair got wet once the swim cap floated away but the socks were imaginarily cemented on. In every poolside picture of my high school senior ski trip, I’m wearing wet white socks.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011


During my freshman year in high school, I had a crush on Tremaine, a senior. We were in French II class together; I had spent several years studying the romantic language at my Catholic elementary school, and was able to jump to a higher level.

Hoping Tremaine would notice me, I went to school one day in one of my best outfits: a paisley print button down shirt with shoulder pads that I had pilfered from my mother’s closet, khaki pants, white Nike sneakers, and mismatched socks.

I sat behind Tremaine in class, and in an attempt to get his attention, I kept raising my hand to answer questions. Midway through class, he turned around and looked at me from head to toe with a smirk on his face.

“Hi,” I said, smiling shyly at him. My fingers were itching to run through is mini curly Afro. Whatever sheen he used had his hair glistening.

“There’s something that’s been on my mind since you walked in. I can’t even concentrate today…” Tremaine said.

My smile faded slightly. That was not the comment I had hoped for, yet I said, “What’s that?” Hopefully he wants me to be his tutor, I thought while holding my breath in anticipation of his ask.

“What made you decide to put on two different color socks today? That look is so played out.”

Tuesday, April 12, 2011


This story is an excerpt from a larger work, but decided to post for Anecdote Tuesday since Cousin Maria made an appearance. :-)

Thanksgiving dinner was usually at my mother’s house and one year I found myself practically falling asleep post-dinner, succumbing to the itis. I walked into my bedroom; my absence was unnoticed by my family since they were engrossed in round two of turkey dinners, pecan pie, and pina coladas. Two minutes later I emerged wearing a sweat suit. Immediately, my cousin Leah started laughing hysterically and asked, pointing to my ensemble, “What is that you’re wearing?”

“What? My sweat suit?” I asked, surprised.

“You’re ridiculous. I can’t believe you’re going to the gym on Thanksgiving.” Before I could respond, Cousin Leah continued, “If anyone should be going, it’s me. Relax yourself because those fitness instructors are out eating turkey too.”

While she had a point regarding the gym, Leah was also five feet two inches and two hundred pounds. Since she had misconstrued my sweat suit intention, I made an attempt to clarify the situation, saying, “Hello! I’m not working out. I’m getting ready for bed.”

Raucous laughter from my other cousins ensued, encouraging Cousin Leah to continue. “In that? You’ll sweat to death!” she said in between gasps for air.

“Excuse you. I happen to get cold at night,” I explained. “And since it’s almost 10 PM—my usual bedtime—my body is ready to feel the warmth of the sweat suit.”

“You don’t have a comforter?” Cousin Leah asked.

“I’m anemic,” I defended. “My doctor said so.”

“If you’re still cold wearing that sauna suit, I’d say you’re sick. It’s a wonder you didn’t melt away yet.”

Soon after, my mother joined the impromptu roast on my behalf adding, “She sleeps in that outfit every night—with the hood on her head. I keep telling her that when she gets married, she can’t sleep like that. She’ll have to wear a little teddy.”

“Or nothing!” Cousin Marie squealed, simultaneously getting up to high-five my mother and other cousins. “Me nevah wear nothing ahtall ahtall to bed wid me husband and we me have plenty fun, gyal!” she added.

“First of all, this is an inappropriate conversation, especially on a holiday like this. My virgin ears are bleeding,” I said.

“Gyal, bedroom talk is nevah inappropriate. We di try give yuh some tips to tantalize di mahn, but yuh di talk foolishness ‘bout virgin,” Cousin Maria said. “I mean fuh sey, how old dey now? Yuh nevah been wid ah mahn yet?”

I was mortified.

Chiming in, Cousin Leah added, “We are all family giving you advice. Good advice. I’m listening too,” she said winking.

“Second,” I continued, ignoring them, “No one uses the word ‘teddy’ anymore Mommy. That’s so old school.”

“You knew what it meant, didn’t you?” my mother countered laughing.

Undeterred, I said, “I have no intentions of going to bed naked when I’m married. While you all are running around in silky negligees—and let me tell you silk doesn’t breathe as well as cotton—or just naked, my husband will have to find me within the folds of the sweat suit.” I laughed at my own wit, proud to defend the sweat suit and happy that I’d cleverly come up with the latter part to support my statements.

“Find you? No man has time to find you when he wants nookie at night. Keep that up and you’ll get divorced quickly!” my mother said.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011


By now, I'm certain you believe I only see Cousin Maria at backyard cookouts, but, there was this one time my family drove to a beach in Long Island…


Even though it was midday on a sweltering Saturday, things were going well. My family had secured three picnic tables covered with food and drinks, and any grub that wasn’t on the table was still sizzling on the grill, which Cousin Maria manned. The peas and rice and was in the cooler to prevent it from spoiling. Someone had brought a super size radio that needed eight D-batteries so we could all jam out. It was turning out to be a good day—until it was time to go swimming.


"Psst," Cousin Leah said, beckoning me over. "You see anything on my pants?"

"No. Why?" I said.

"My friend came unexpectedly and I don't have anything," she said, stressing friend and anything to let me know it was that time of the month. She had asked the other women in our family for sanitary supplies, but no one had any with them. Except Cousin Maria.

Since Cousin Maria apparently had bionic hearing while manning the grill, she overheard the exchange between Cousin Leah and I.

"Whey wrong wid yuh?!" Cousin Maria shouted, bringing unnecessary attention to herself. She was completely sober. "Yuh neveah even ask mi! Oonu treat me like strangah!"

Embarrassed and exasperated, Cousin Maria and made the request.

"Hmphf, I shouldn't give yuh anyting ahtall ahtall, but wait," Cousin Maria said. She had left her grill station, with Cousin Leah and myself in tow, to rifle through her bag.

Looking quizzically at the bundled up beige polyester cloth Cousin Maria proffered, Cousin Leah said, "What do you want me to do with this?"

"Yuh crazy or what? It's ah pad and ah panty. Me walk wid dem eena mi pocketbook every single day! You nevah know when somebodie wahn have ah accident."

NOTE TO MEN: Most women do not carry drawers and sanitary supplies daily.